A Multimodal Curriculum With Patient Feedback to Improve Medical Student Communication: Pilot Study

Nicole M. Dubosh, Matthew M. Hall, Victor Novack, Tali Shafat, Nathan I. Shapiro, Edward A. Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Despite the extraordinary amount of time physicians spend communicating with patients, dedicated education strategies on this topic are lacking. The objective of this study was to develop a multimodal curriculum including direct patient feedback and assess whether it improves communication skills as measured by the Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) in fourth-year medical students during an emergency medicine (EM) clerkship. METHODS: This was a prospective, randomized trial of fourth-year students in an EM clerkship at an academic medical center from 2016-2017. We developed a multimodal curriculum to teach communication skills consisting of 1) an asynchronous video on communication skills, and 2) direct patient feedback from the CAT, a 15-question tool with validity evidence in the emergency department setting. The intervention group received the curriculum at the clerkship midpoint. The control group received the curriculum at the clerkship's end. We calculated proportions and odds ratios (OR) of students achieving maximum CAT score in the first and second half of the clerkship. RESULTS: A total of 64 students were enrolled: 37 in the control group and 27 in the intervention group. The percentage of students achieving the maximum CAT score was similar between groups during the first half (OR 0.70, p = 0.15). Following the intervention, students in the intervention group achieved a maximum score more often than the control group (OR 1.65, p = 0.008). CONCLUSION: Students exposed to the curriculum early had higher patient ratings on communication compared to the control group. A multimodal curriculum involving direct patient feedback may be an effective means of teaching communication skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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